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Waterford bit - why illegal?

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  • Waterford bit - why illegal?

    I am truly curious here. I know some people who like them for horses who lean. Why are they not allowed in competition?

  • #2
    My understanding is that in dressage, they try to keep it simple, so they started with the basic bits, and only add new bits if they can be shown to be more humane and to have additional benfit for the HORSE, and not a quick fix for the rider. So it is not so much that certain bits were decided to be illegal, it is more that certain bits were selected as legal, with new ones added as the case is made for them.
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    • #3
      because a properly trained dressage hrose shouldn't be "leaning" but should be working off his hind end, submissively to a relatively mild bit.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
        I am truly curious here. I know some people who like them for horses who lean. Why are they not allowed in competition?

        Why should they be? We are supposed to use training to fix horses problems, not gadget bits.
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        • #5
          Because bits are aides, not weapons.
          ... _. ._ .._. .._

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Seriously, it was just a question. I've never used one on one of my own horses, nor would I because it's just too fat for them.

            But it cannot be more inhumane than a Dr. Bristol, which has the sharp edge of the link digging into the tongue.

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            • #7
              And yet, double bridles are (or at least were, as of very recently, I seem to recall a rule change, but could be wrong) REQUIRED at the upper levels. Which, one could make the arguement, the horses should be SO well trained that only the simplest of snaffles should be needed. And yes, I know, finesse, refinement, etc, just playing a little bit of devils advocate here.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Timex View Post
                And yet, double bridles are (or at least were, as of very recently, I seem to recall a rule change, but could be wrong) REQUIRED at the upper levels. Which, one could make the arguement, the horses should be SO well trained that only the simplest of snaffles should be needed. And yes, I know, finesse, refinement, etc, just playing a little bit of devils advocate here.
                YES!!! I see you devils advocate and add a few glasses of wine

                why is it that the highly trained horses need 2 bits?
                hummm maybe the lower levels should show without bits (this is good for me since one of mine hates the bit)
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                • #9
                  What about rollers? I have a d-ring with copper rollers and my horse likes the bit, but its illegal. What do the rollers do for the horse? I really have no clue and it only ended up on my horse because I needed something to ride him in when my other bridle was at school. Turns out, he rides better with the rollers
                  *Paige*
                  ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
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                  • #10
                    or Copper?

                    I had a customer at a tack store argue with me forEVER that bits with copper were illegal.

                    I didn't think this was true but since I'm not a "dressage person" I didn't really have a dog in the fight.

                    However in the attempt to better serve our customers we DID keep the complete FEI rule book behind the counter and I couldn't find anything in there about it.

                    Whether they are or not I couldn't understand why they would be
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                    • #11
                      its the mouth piece, not the copper. At least in eventing dressage! The bit cannot have rollers on it, but it could be made of copper
                      *Paige*
                      ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
                      R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor

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                      • #12
                        The Waterford is a chain bit, it discourages contact, so not what dressage is about. The mixed metals, and reactions occuring between the two metals is the problem with a bit containing copper I think. Copper is too soft to make entire bits out of, but I don't think there is a problem if the mouth and the rings are made of different materials.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                          Because bits are aides, not weapons.
                          Oh for Christ's sake HB is asking (politely!) about a waterford. That is one of the friendliest bits out there, which discourages leaning because it is hard for the horse to get a grip on it and the balls encourage a light, playful feel in the mouth.

                          If we are going to lecture about bits being aides, not weapons, let's discuss the "double bridle with the crank as tight as possible and the curb shank cranked horizontal to the ground" phenomenon, which is apparently how the warmup is supposed to happen in international competition. But hey, I guess that's "relatively mild."
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                          • #14
                            My understanding, as uneducated as I am about it, is that if the bit, harsh or kind, is used to encourage the kind of response in the horse which dressage is supposed to demonstrate as the result of the horse's training and condition and response to the rider's seat, hands, balance, and his own willingness, then the purpose of dressage is somewhat circumvented, so the bit would not get approved.

                            In otherwords, if the specific response of the horse, say forward, with contact and lightness up front, is obtained because of the bit, the riding and training isn't being demonstrated, the bit is.

                            Might that describe the concerns?
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                            • #15
                              Asking the wrong question

                              Legal or not ain't it-- the relevant thing about the Waterford is how you use it to help with a leaning horse, and what the German Dressage Philosophers want. I think these are opposed.

                              The Waterford works only if you plan on letting go most of the time. It's the instability that makes the bit effective/

                              The dressager who wants the horse pushing into the bridle can't use the Waterford this way.

                              Rollers, many bits, no bits, bits with snuck in (and disagreed about leverage) like bauchers? Whatever.

                              I think these bits' status reflect a bunch of people trying to rationalize the equipment they need (or don't) and making up whole metaphysical systems and justifications after the fact.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                The dressager who wants the horse pushing into the bridle can't use the Waterford this way.

                                Rollers, many bits, no bits, bits with snuck in (and disagreed about leverage) like bauchers? Whatever.

                                I think these bits' status reflect a bunch of people trying to rationalize the equipment they need (or don't) and making up whole metaphysical systems and justifications after the fact.
                                (a) the Baucher does not have leverage/poll pressure; there is no leverage point, no gag effect; no curb strap/chain.
                                (b) the only horse upon which I've used a Baucher could be halted by a word, bu your seat, by removing any leg pressure to move forward; he was soft and light in any snaffle...but he he had a shallow mouth and a big tongue, and was more comfortable with the stability and less tongue/bar pressure afforded by the Baucher. The same effect could be gained by using a plain or french mouth full cheek with the stabilizing keepers, but that seems such a "hunter" turnout that I found the Baucher more suitable.

                                P.S. Rode a borrowed horse in a Waterford - it was what the owner put on her. She pulled like a train, though I kept trying to soften her and release; it may be loose and little balls, but the bit I saw also had hard little projections on those balls (was this some variation?). Any any event it looked brutal, and when the mare tried to cart me and I had to circle her to regain control she cheerfully leaned into it and kept right on going. I eventually got her undercontrol and noticed then (she was given to me already saddle and bridled and I had only checked the girth, not the bridle), that she had calluses on the corners of her mouth. Made me wonder what her tongue looked like. Dunno...wouldn't WANT to use one as a dressage bit, but I do wonder if this mare (re-training issues aside), might not have been a safer and more comfortable (for the horse) ride in some sort of pelham, rather than that rather nasty looking Waterford.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                                  P.S. Rode a borrowed horse in a Waterford - it was what the owner put on her. She pulled like a train, though I kept trying to soften her and release; it may be loose and little balls, but the bit I saw also had hard little projections on those balls (was this some variation?). Any any event it looked brutal, and when the mare tried to cart me and I had to circle her to regain control she cheerfully leaned into it and kept right on going. I eventually got her undercontrol and noticed then (she was given to me already saddle and bridled and I had only checked the girth, not the bridle), that she had calluses on the corners of her mouth. Made me wonder what her tongue looked like. Dunno...wouldn't WANT to use one as a dressage bit, but I do wonder if this mare (re-training issues aside), might not have been a safer and more comfortable (for the horse) ride in some sort of pelham, rather than that rather nasty looking Waterford.
                                  I have a Waterford that I used as a transition bit on an OTTB that had been overbitted and overjumped (thus fried) and would grab the bit and take off or lean depending on his anxiety level. Poor guy--rushed and never really flat-trained because he was so talented over fences.

                                  He was coming out of a Milkmar combo (you know the one with the nose twine) and we were working our way down to the snaffle (which he eventually did go into successfully). My waterford is just smooth balls (no spikes, etc). I also used a happy mouth pelham on that horse with two reins (not the connector) and a curb chain for jumping before we got to the snaffle. Stop-wise the pelham offered more control. But the waterford was a good bit to use for about a month as we played with how to get him to relax under saddle. He couldn't accept the snaffle and contact until he learned to relax.

                                  So it is one bit I haven't sold on a swap--just in case. I thought it was useful.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
                                    But it cannot be more inhumane than a Dr. Bristol, which has the sharp edge of the link digging into the tongue.
                                    That just is not so. http://s784.photobucket.com/albums/yy121/Equibrit/Tack/
                                    ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                                    • #19
                                      Dr B is not dressage legal.
                                      And Bauchers have no curb action. At all.

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                                      • #20
                                        Yes it is. I've used one for 10 years.
                                        http://www.usef.org//documents/ruleBook/2009/08-DR.pdf
                                        PAGE 22.
                                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

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